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The Secretary-General’s Message on World Day to Combat Desertification

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17 June 2015 - “Invest in healthy soils”

Land degradation and desertification undercut human rights, starting with the right to food.  Nearly 1 billion people lack adequate nutrition, and those living off degraded areas are among the most affected.  Their situation could worsen if land degradation, as projected, reduces global food production by 12 per cent by 2035.

Food security is also impacted by the decline in water resources. Due to land degradation there is less water and snow being stored in the ground.  In 10 years, two out of every three people in the world could be living under stressed water conditions.

We degrade 12 million hectares of productive land every year – an area the size of Benin or Honduras.  More than half our farmland is degraded, and only 10 per cent is improving. About 500 million hectares could be restored cost-effectively, rather than being abandoned. If we do not change how we use our land, we will have to convert an area the size of Norway into new farmland every year to meet future needs for food, freshwater, biofuels and urban growth. This would cause deforestation and other negative environmental impact.

The threat does not stop there. Through land degradation and other inappropriate land use, we release about a quarter of the greenhouse gases warming the planet. Climate change and unsustainable land use, particularly by agriculture, are contributing to the decline of freshwater resources in all regions of the world. As a consequence, global food production is projected to fall by 2 per cent every decade.

A world where all rights to food, water and human security are guaranteed is possible. But we need to change course and start securing every hectare of land that can provide food or freshwater. Land is a renewable resource, but only if we invest in land degradation neutrality, which has been proposed by United Nations Member States for the post-2015 development agenda. We must avoid degrading more land and, at the same time, rehabilitate all the degraded land that we can. Then, we will also be able to make rapid steps towards controlling climate change.

Our lives and civilizations depend on the land. Let us invest in healthy soils to secure our rights to food and freshwater.

Spotlight

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WORLD AIDS DAY MESSAGE 2017

1 December 2017

Michel Sidibé
Executive Director of UNAIDS
Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations

This World AIDS Day, we are highlighting the importance of the right to health and the challenges that people living with and affected by HIV face in fulfilling that right.


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Community spaces design contest for an exciting hanoi

Ha Noi, October 17/10/2017 - Aiming at improving the living environment and bringing culture and art to the community towards a better urban future, United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) successfully developed the project “Promote participatory, community-based and youth-led approach in safe, greening public spaces in Hoan Kiem district toward a pro-poor, inclusive and sustainable urban development” (hereinafter called Public Spaces project) under the Block by Block program with Mojang, the makers of the videogame Minecraft.

 

Deadline for round 1: From 17/10/2017 to 04/11/2017 Extended to 9 November 2017


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Harsh punishment for child offenders doesn’t prevent further criminality

The age at which a child, can be held criminally liable is a controversial issue around the world. Within Viet Nam, this issue is currently being grappled with in the Penal Code amendments. Some argue that a "get tough on crime" approach is necessary to punish children to prevent further criminality.

However, international research shows that because of their developmental stages, labelling and treating children as criminals at an early age can have serious negative impacts on their development and successful rehabilitation.


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New Year Greetings from the United Nations Resident Coordinator a.i. in Viet Nam

 

On the occasion of New Year 2017, on behalf of the United Nations family in Viet Nam I wish to reiterate our appreciation and express our warmest wishes to our partners and friends throughout the country. We wish our partners and their families in Viet Nam peace, prosperity, good health and happiness in the coming year.

As we enter the second year of the Sustainable Development Goals era, we look forward to continuing our close cooperation for the sake of Viet Nam’s future development; one which is inclusive, equitable and sustainable, with no one left behind.

Youssouf Abdel-Jelil
United Nations Resident Coordinator a.i. in Viet Nam


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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for World AIDS Day, observed on 1 December

 

Thirty-five years since the emergence of AIDS, the international community can look back with some pride.  But we must also look ahead with resolve and commitment to reach our goal of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

There has been real progress in tackling the disease. More people than ever are on treatment.  Since 2010, the number of children infected through mother to child transmission has dropped by half. Fewer people die of AIDS related causes each year.  And people living with HIV are living longer lives.

The number of people with access to life-saving medicines has doubled over the past five years, now topping 18 million. With the right investments, the world can get on the fast-track to achieve our target of 30 million people on treatment by 2030.  Access to HIV medicines to prevent mother to child transmission is now available to more than 75 per cent of those in need.